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Monday, December 07, 2009

People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones

This article is critical of the Egyptian religious establishment's reaction to the new minaret ban in Switzerland, although its words could equally be directed at many other countries in the Arab Muslim world. The difference is that in Egypt there are actually Christians.
Yes, they are right, the move is an insult to Islam. At the same time, though, they are forgetting the injustice that persists in their own backyard. Christians have complained for years over the inability to build their own houses of worship.

When Egyptian Christians look at what Goma'a said, they see flaws and hypocrisy. And they are right. When Goma'a said "it is considered as a humiliation for the Muslim community in and out of Switzerland", Christians had to be laughing. They have lived with this kind of humiliation for years.

So when Naguib Gobrail, a Coptic lawyer, said that statements from the Muslim world were an "insult to Christians" he highlighted the reality of what is going on. Egyptians failed to see that their own actions are no better than those of their Swiss counterparts.

It is easy to condemn with words, but harder to take action. The Arab world has long avoided looking inward at its own problems, blaming Europe, the United States and Israel instead. The governments, especially the one in Cairo, love this. People don't see the facts on the ground as they are too preoccupied by the wrongs and injustices dealt abroad. This time it is no different.

As Muslims attacked Switzerland for the ban, they didn't bother to look at the minorities in their own country who daily have been subjected to a similar fate as Muslims in Switzerland and across Europe.

Actually, the writer makes a poor comparison between Egyptian Copts and Muslims in Europe. Muslims in Europe are free to worship, Copts in Egypt are not. Muslims in Europe can build mosques, Copts in Egypt cannot. Muslims in Europe are equal citizens, Copts in Egypt are not.

And that's just Copts in Egypt - it's not even talking about Jews who are persecuted in most of the Arab world (they have fled from all countries except Syria and Iran who do not allow them to flee, and they are currently fleeing from Yemen), and who are not allowed to live in Lebanon, Jordan or Saudi Arabia. In fact, one cannot even bring a bible into Saudi Arabia.

Egypt's treatment of Christian Copts is the tip of the iceberg of the Arab Muslim world's treatment of other religions, and it is far worse than the treatment of Muslims in Europe.

People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.


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